Foraging At Its Finest

I’ll be the first to admit …

I’m not the most ‘adventurous’ eater in town. So, I was a little nervous (but also SUPER excited) to try out Foraged: A Hyper-Seasonal Eatery in Hampden to celebrate our friend’s birthday! And, boy did I have ZERO clue what I was in for…

For ONE, I learned what foraging is! Turns out, Foraging is the act of finding and harvesting wild foods. Some call it “gathering.” It most commonly refers to mushroom hunting – who ever knew there was such a thing? However, I also learned that “mushroom hunting” is something only people practiced in the fine and delicate art of mushroom identification should engage in.

Onto TWO – the restaurant. Everything from the advertised hyper-seasonal apps and entrées to the cozy setting, UBER awesome service, courtesy of Nico Bustos, and secret dinosaur decor search (can you find them all?! 🦖🦕) was absolutely incredible. I’m not the best at food photography, so most definitely not going to even attempt in that arena, but earmarking this as a place for all to check out for sure!!!

🍄

P.S. check out that handsome crew – HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATT !!!

What are your secret restaurant spot recos?!
Talk soon!

xoxo
Brittany

The Best InfuZed Bottle You’ll Ever Buy

Recently, I was surprised & delighted to win the pre-launch/kick off contest held by The Infuzed Bottle and I couldn’t’ have been more thrilled! (Lizzie was pretty intrigued as well 🙂 )

I’ve had on my radar to check these little ‘infuser’ guys out, read reviews and find the best one for me, but in typical fashion, I kept putting it off. While I’m not much of an adventurer of anything outside of drinking water, I do love to mix up my water – from a fizzy sparkling water to a variety of fruit infused water blends. Having these combination options helps me to not get bored of my water, while keeping up my hydration consumption!

Today, I’m sharing my review of The Infuzed Bottle and why you should or why you shouldn’t invest in one.

It’s So Pretty!

How could you NOT want to strut around the office, the gym, your daily errands, etc. without this little beauty in your hands? From day one when I started using the chic, gold topped, fashionable glass bottle, E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E I saw wanted to know where I got it from. It’s a show-stopper!

It’s Easy to Clean! (AND – It’s good for the environment)

With an elegant glass structure, you have to be delicate. BUT – I personally always feel I’m able to get glass clean or sanitized versus plastic. Plastic harbors Bisphenol-A, a chemical known as BPA, which can mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body like estrogens, androgens, and thyroid hormones. A.K.A. TOSS/RECYCLE YOUR PLASTIC BOTTLES FROM YOUR KITCHEN CABINET. As quotes by The Infuzed Bottle, “Friends don’t let friends use plastic!” Exposure to BPA is a concern because it creates possible health effects on the brain, can have a direct correlation to high blood pressure, as well as health effects related to behavior and prostate glands. Yikes!

For Infuzed Bottle, you can get it sparkling clean by simply hand washing your bottle in warm soapy water. AND – know you’re being socially responsible!

It’s Easy to Keep Tabs on Your Hydration!

The Infuzed bottle holds 500 ML of water, equivalent to approximately 17 fluid Oz, so if you’re one to aim for the ideal of eight 8-once glasses of water in a day, you only need four full helpings to exceed your goal.

It’s Healthy!

I know what you’re thinking … of course it’s healthy, Brittany, it’s W-A-T-E-R for goodness sake! But, I mean even more than that – Don’t fall for flavored waters, vitamin waters, etc. that can be filled with artificial sugars and sweeteners! Maintain your nutrients and vitamins by using FRESH fruits and veggies. PLUS – they’re a great snack afterwards J

There are SO Many Ways to Use it!

Not in the mood for cold infuzed water? Try a hot mixture! The Infuzed Bottle has both hot and cold functionality. Don’t worry – whatever you decide to mix it with will get caught in the stainless steel strainer. That means so extra seeds, chunks or tea leaves for you! Not sure where to start? Here’s a few of my favorites combos for you to try:

  1. Strawberry + Cucumber + Mint
  2. Lemon + Lime + Splash of Ginger
  3. Grapefruit + Pineapple
  4. Raspberry + Lemon (tastes like pink lemonade!)

HINT HINT: It’s always best to chop, slice or dice your fruit into bite sized chunks before adding to your Infuzed Bottle. It helps to get the natural juices released and flowing! If you’re adventuring into berries, you can even try muddling them before you add them in for some extra bold flavor!

Still need some convincing? Try it for yourself! They’re on sale for a limited time – just $39! PLUS – if you use code BRIT10 you can get an added 10% OFF!
I promise you that you will fall in love <3 <3

Until next time!

xoxo
Brittany

Cheery & Charming Traveler’s Guide: 8 NEW Places to Visit in New York City

As always, New York was a whirlwind! Up and back in 2-days, via the Vermonter & Acela Express made for a jam-packed, fun and exciting adventure for our Valentine’s Day this year. Aside from my first time at Madison Square Gardens + seeing Billy Joel live, we covered a TON of ground and visited a slew of new spots!

Whenever I find fun, new spots, I’m always pressed to share! So, I’m quickly jotting down my top 7 favorite places we visited for any of you who may be looking for a cool, trendy or cozy new spot to check out next time you’re in the area!

  1. Hanoi House
    We had dinner here Thursday night and let me tell you – it was I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E. Placed appropriately on the historical, adventure seeking, 119 St. Mark’s Place, you’ll arrive in a (not-so-surprisingly-small), delicately quaint, romantically dimmed, intimate spot in East Village. But – don’t let the size fool you. Hanoi House is known for “The Absolute Best Pho in New York,” “The Absolute Best Octopus in New York,” “The Absolute Best Vietnamese Restaurants in New York,” and more. I mean . . . WOW!!! Once you’ve had a moment to take in the eloquent details, brace yourself as you’re about to be spoiled with a breathtaking, unbelievable, well-cultured, imaginative display of Vietnamese cuisine! From the Crispy Crab & Pork Spring rolls (Nem Ran), to the Spicy Octopus (Bach Tuoc Ca Ri) – delightfully displayed over roasted sweet potatoes, coconut curry, charred scallion and shishito peppers, to the Hanoi Style Beef Pho Soup (Pho Bac), – a classic 16-hr broth with heritage Black Angus filet mignon, brisket & rice noodles AND an add-on option of bone marrow (must have!) on the side, our dinner was simply divine. The only thing that will leave you feeling disappointed after this visit, is the wish that you could fit everything on the menu in your belly!
    P.S. make sure you get there early!! They don’t take reservations and the place was nearly filled upon our arrival, 15-minutes post their opening at 5:30.
    P.S.S. our dear friends own this place, so go. check. it. out. !!!
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  2. Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria NYC
    I don’t know about you, but I know that when I visit New York City, I’m not leaving until I’ve had a proper slize of za 😉
    Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria is more formally known in the Staten Island area of New York. Wanting to break in and make their presence known in the Manhattan area, they opened their NEW location at 168 1st Avenue. Priding themselves on a secret Neapolitan recipe for a special thin crust pizza that has made their restaurant famous, I was so glad to have enjoyed this gem during our trip! We sat at the antiquely pounded copper counter top on the corner of the bar and enjoyed catching up with friends and admiring the original, characteristic stained glass windows before, quite literally, demolishing our pizza. Looking for the perfect NY fold? You found it!! Can’t decide which kind to try when you visit? Psst… if you order a large, they allow you to do half and half! But, they also have a smaller, personal 10” option as well. Not to mention – the bartender and staff were  amazingly warm and welcoming, making for a fun, social lunch break on Friday!
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  3. C&B – East Village, Thompson Square Park
    I’ll keep this one short and sweet, just like this shop! Seriously one of the cutest little coffee shops in East Village! We stopped in for a quick espresso (always needed!) and loved seeing the kitchen staff live, in action, flipping, kneading and pounding their homemade dough!! I mean, you just can’t get that just anywhere in Baltimore! Plus, you can take your coffee/espresso/latte and enjoy a casual stroll around Thompson Square Park after, which is right across the street!
  4. Tacombi
    SALT! SALT! SALT! LOVED this Mexican spot we found on 267 Elizabeth Street. And come on … a old school, authentic Volkswagen Bus as the taco-making station?! We only stopped in for a quick taco (or two…) and kept on our exploring, but the atmosphere was so traditional and genuine, it’s definitely worth a visit and some cliché photos! P.S. the tacos were awesome too!
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  5. L’AMICO
    This is probably one of my favorite spots in NYC – although a little more ‘commercial,’ in feel, the atmosphere is to die for and this is going to sound weird, but I love their bathrooms! Haha! While separate male and female, the hand-washing station connects the two via a shared wash-sink area with a reflective, stained glass like mirror for separation. It’s a great spot for a casual happy hour, quick bite at the bar (they have amazing selection of appetizers, wood-burning pizzas, fresh pastas, and selections of charcuterie), or in our circumstance, a late night cap for topping off Saturday evening after the concert. We stayed in the hotel above it – The EVENTI, which I would TOTALLY recommend if you’re ever seeing a show at Madison Square Gardens. It was about a 5 minute walk from the concert!
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  6. BUA Bar
    Cute and friendly spot to stop to get a snack or drink beforehand if you try our Hanoi House! It’s right across the street and felt so intimate. The space is decorated with countless lit candles that grace spaces in the walls where bricks have intentionally been removed. Candles also delicately and artfully line random fashion behind the bar liquor bottles, shelving, and pretty much anywhere you look!
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  7. Westside Market
    Talk about a local food market!! I WISH we had something like this in our small town, Federal Hill! Then again, I get we may not have the same volume to sustain this type of operation 🙂 It felt like I had walked into the Costco-version of a market! Never-ending, colorful supply and variety of fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, deli meats, cheeses, traditional grocery, flowers and more! Super cool spot to stop by, take in the colorful spreads and patronize a local business (with some salty and sweet snacks while you’re there!)
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  8. The Pennsy Food Hall
    Last, but not least – and definitely not a big secret as it’s right above Penn Station, but this is a great, vibrant and convenient spot to grab-and-go a snack before you catch the train ride home. It’s more of an incubator-type feel with a variety of small eateries, so there’s a little something for everyone. From sushi, to tacos, to bar food, to sweet treats, ice cream and more! Plus, they sometimes have a DJ that slings throwback songs and top beats to get you boppin’ and grovin’!

Do you have any favorite spots or gems to share? I’d love to hear! Ping me in the comments below!

Talk soon!

xoxox
Brittany

Mamma Mia! NEW: Keto Italian Stuffed Meatball Recipe for the Books

For some, odd, I can’t-explain-it reason, I was so intimidated by the idea of making meatballs. I know . . . call me weird. But, it felt like everyone had their own “special” or “secret” recipe, sometimes dating back generations of family. BUT – it turns out, most of those recipes don’t fall within Keto diet guidelines anyway!

While traditional meatballs are not keto, I’m here to help you with an awesome, SUPER easy, Italian Stuffed Keto Meatball alternative.

Typically, meatballs contain bread/crumbs as their main ingredient. This helps the balls maintain their shape. The presence of bread is a direct keto violation, but here’s a solution! (don’t be scared away by the number of ingredients – you just end up combining everything together! 🙂 )

Servings: 4

Split equally into 4 portions

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 3 tbsp Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 Large Egg
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt & Pepper Sprinkled for Seasoning

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Mix meat and all other ingredients together
  • Form into meatballs
  • Lay on a foil covered baking sheet
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Serve over spinach with sprinkled mozzarella cheese on top
  • Enjoy!

Nutrition
Calories            594
Fats (g)              44.8
Protein (g)        36.8
Net Carbs (g)    3.8

Seriously… HOW FLIPPING SIMPLE?! Great for lunches on the go, hearty dinners and for satisfying your favorite Italian food cravings! And these are delicious . . . I PROMISE you!

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Give them a try and post your review/comments below 🙂

Talk soon!
xoxox
Brittany

 

NAILS: One Thing You Can Get In Shape Without Exercise

Back in the day, I was THAT girl with the French, fake, acrylic tips. While they may have looked completely flawless to strangers, one thing’s for sure that I grew to quickly hate was how broken, brittle and quite honestly, painful my fingernails had become. I couldn’t bare to show them in public not ‘done,’ (they looked horribly paper thin) and they had been so grinned down that they physically hurt. OUCH!!

Fast forward, I decided to revamp my nails. First, by going cold turkey on the whole ‘getting my nails done,’ and second, I started researching healthier ways to keep my nails strong and happy. That’s when I found gel nails! Gel nails have a more natural look with a glossy finish. And, unlike acrylics, if the nails are primed correctly, there is no damage to the nail bed! I absolutely love Gel nails. I’ve had them and kept up with them since I’ve been about 20/21 and have the healthiest nails I’ve ever had since.

However, gel nails are also more flexible than acrylic nails. And let me tell you . . . I’m no delicate daisy when it comes to my nails. One thing I found most frustrating was that if I was rough on them, they chipped and sometimes broke; many times unreasonably early from the last time I had them done at a salon. I found myself having to check-in or have them re-done every 2 weeks, which wore on me over time. I found myself not making the time to get them done, doing DIY removal myself (which P.S. is the WORST for your nails) and just plain allowing them to look less than average for what I was paying out of pocket. #byeeemoney

Most recently, a dear friend of mine told me about her love for the trendy SNS, or “Dip Powder,” nails. Being skeptical, I naturally had a MILLION questions. Taking the leap, I decided to try it out for myself! Here’s my verdict:

  • The process was pretty upfront and simple. I don’t know why I was so nervous – then, again I’m nervous with anything new! The nail tech primed my nails, just as if I was having a standard gel manicure done – which I really appreciated! No abrasive grinding or shaving – just simple cuticle trim up, shaping and buffing before the powder application began. This part I found most intriguing! It’s like an art! She carefully painted an adhesive on each nail before dipping individually into the colored powder of my choice. And – my favorite part – NO UV rays!! She continued with three layers of powder before finishing out with a final shaping, buff, and –layered top coat, which took only 2 minutes to air dry with no fan.
  • This new manicure lasts longer than gel polish and doesn’t use UV light. The dip powder treatments have lasted me a month on average versus gel, which typically lasts me few weeks.
  • Many have asked me if it’s “thick” or “too fake” feeling: it’s definitely something to keep in mind as I’ve heard some women experience/feel this way. But, if you do your research, and mention it to your nail tech upon arrival, I’ve had experience with techs who have been very careful to paint the adhesive on in staggered layers away from the cuticle. This way, it grows out smoothly and naturally. Not with a huge ridge, similar to what you’re probably envisioning from acrylic nails.
  • Of course, the thing that makes gel or dip powder more desirable is how well they stay on. BUT – remember the small drawback that anything intended to last thing long will resultantly be rather difficult to remove. In my best advice – DO NOT do yourself/at HOME!!
  • The removal process is crucial. Getting the polish properly removed is just as important as the application. In my experience, most issues occur and and stem from attempts at a DIY home removal. OUCH!! It is always safest to go back to your salon and have a licensed professional remove/update any product for you.

All in all, I love the new process! It saves me time, money and lasts significantly longer, no matter how much I beat them up. As with any nail applique, remember to take care of your nails by taking breaks. Having anything on your nail for an extended length of time without proper removal and rejuvenation can be harmful, whether it be acrylic, gel, or powder.

What’s your typical nail routine? I’d love to hear! As well as your thoughts on dip powder if you’ve tried, or are planning to try?!

Talk soon!

Xoxox
Brittany

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